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New Opportunity to Support Government Evaluation of Public Participation and Community Engagement Now Open

April 22, 2024 903

Thanks to a new collaboration between the United States government’s Office of Management & Budget and the General Services Administration (GSA), a new opportunity to engage is federal evidence is now open for applications. The President’s Management Agenda Learning Agenda: Public Participation & Community Engagement Evidence Challenge is dedicated to forming a strategic, evidence-based plan that federal agencies and external researchers can use to solve big problems. This project is expected to create new and innovative tools for government evaluation of community engagement and public participation and develop an extensive toolkit of methods and metrics that will evaluate the effectiveness of public participation and community engagement (PPCE) initiatives.

All interested applicants, whether individuals or teams, will be responsible for developing a PPCE evaluation toolkit to address:

  1. What approaches increase awareness of PPCE opportunities among members of affected communities?
  2. How do motivators and barriers to PPCE vary across demographic factors and lived experiences? What features of PPCE activities serve to build on those motivators and/or mitigate barriers to participation?
  3. How does participation in PPCE opportunities affect perceptions of related Federal program or policy decisions and the leaders or agencies who make and implement them? and
  4. What measures, data sources, and analytic methods provide actionable information about the relative effectiveness of PPCE approaches in terms of their contributions to increasing reach, improving diversity and inclusivity, eliciting substantive involvement and nuanced input from participants, and promoting trust in Federal decision-making?

In Phase I, interested potential solvers will develop and submit a technical concept paper that will outline and detail the applicant’s approach in formulating their toolkit. This paper should provide a framework on the potential output and outcome measures, the sources and types of data agencies that will be used for PPCE evaluation, information on how the toolkit will aid Federal agencies, and other components in the toolkit. The best three technical concept papers will be selected, and each winner will receive $15,000 from the GSA to continue their PPCE evaluation toolkits in Phase II. All interested applicants should adhere to the following Phase I Timeline:

  • Challenge Phase I Opens: April 8, 2024
  • Phase I Submission Deadline: May 21, 2024
  • Judging Begins: May 22, 2024
  • Judging Ends: May 31, 2024
  • Notify Phase I Winners: June 3, 2024

In Phase II, the remaining three potential solvers will submit their PPCE evaluation toolkits. These toolkits will be evaluated using the following metrics:

  1. Guidance for evaluation planning (e.g., actionable and practicable approaches for embedding evaluation in the roll-out of new PPCE approaches, including related communications and outreach),
  2. Identification of valid output and outcome measures (relevant indicators may include measures of: participant diversity, breadth and saturation of reach, new or unique perspectives gained, engagement quality, engagement satisfaction, and measures of trust in government), and
  3. Strategies to collect and analyze data to contribute to a shared and growing evidence base that can inform continual improvement and refinement of approaches to effective and equitable PPCE across the government.

In addition to these detailed toolkits, each submission should also include a sample case study that demonstrates the applicability to the proposed toolkit. The winner of Phase II will receive $150,000 from the GSA and may have the opportunity to work alongside a federal agency to implement their evaluation toolkit in a PPCE activity undertaken by the agency. The three potential problem solvers remaining in Phase II should adhere to the following timeline:

  • Challenge Phase II Opens: June 3, 2024
  • Phase II Submission Deadline: August 2, 2024
  • Judging Begins: August 5, 2024
  • Judging Ends: August 16, 2024
  • Notify Phase II Winner: August 19, 2024

All interested applicants should visit this website for more information. For other challenges and competitions to support the public good, please visit the Challenge.gov for an entire database of open opportunities.

Christopher Everett is the social sciences communications intern at Sage. He is currently studying public policy and media and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a strong passion for the interplay of law, policy, and communications, Christopher seeks to bridge the gap between these fields through insightful communication and analysis.

View all posts by Christopher Everett

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